Foundation recordkeeping is an inherently dull topic—unless it’s done wrong. The foundation manager who has not kept adequate documentation regarding expenditure responsibility grants will surely find an IRS audit more exciting than he might like. Similarly, a foundation manager confronted with a trustee succession battle will find the situation even more nerve-racking if she cannot put her hands on copies of the minutes of the meeting held years ago at which the succession issue was addressed and resolved.
Private foundations make grants based on charitable endowments. The endowment funds come from one or a small handful of sources -- an individual, a family or a corporation. Because of their endowments, they are focused primarily on grantmaking and generally do not raise funds or seek public financial support the way public charities (like community foundations) must.
Private independent foundations are distinct from private family or corporate foundations in that an independent foundation is not governed by the benefactor, the benefactor’s family or a corporation. Of the largest private foundations in the United States, most are independent foundations, although they may have begun as family foundations or were converted from corporate foundations. There is no official IRS or legal definition of independent foundations, so it is difficult to arrive at statistics that are fully representative of the field.
Below is everything on our site for independent foundations. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.
- What are the legal requirements for private foundations wishing to make cross-border grants?
- What are the legal requirements for public charities wishing to make cross-border grants?
As a nation we cherish the value of service. Few among us take this spirit to heart more than our men and women in uniform. Coming from all walks of life, they join forces to safeguard our country.
- What are the advantages, disadvantages and likely costs of scholarship programs?
- What do the private foundation rules require, and how should community foundations apply the rules?
- What rules or procedures govern community foundation scholarship programs?
- Does a community foundation need to notify the IRS before starting a scholarship program?
With Congress and the media focusing on corporate governance and foundation administration, it is a good time to make sure that all grantmakers have a strong conflict of interest policy in place. Both private foundations and public charities (such as community foundations) should have clear guidelines on financial or other interests that must be disclosed and transactions that must be scrutinized or avoided. The policy should cover both board members and foundation staff.
The Council's Board of Directors released this guidance memorandum in March 2010 and strongly recommends that when reviewing and approving foundation investment policies and procedures practices, all foundations—private and public-consider these best practices in foundation investment management.